The Dreadful Story Of Pauline And The Matches

Heinrich Hoffmann 1809 (Frankfurt,) – 1894 (Frankfurt,)



Mamma and Nurse went out one day,
And left Pauline alone at play;
Around the room she gayly sprang,
Clapp'd her hands, and danced, and sang.
Now, on the table close at hand,
A box of matches chanced to stand,
And kind Mamma and Nurse had told her,
That if she touched them they would scold her.
But Pauline said, "Oh, what a pity!
For when they burn it is so pretty;
They crackle so, and spit, and flame;
And Mamma often burns the same.
I'll only light a match or two
As I have often seen my mother do."
  
  
When Minz and Maunz, the cats, heard this,
They said, "Oh, naughty, naughty Miss.
Me-ow!" they cried, "Me-ow, me-o,
You'll burn to death, if you do so.
Mamma forbids it, don't you know?"
  
But Pauline would not take advice,
She lit a match, it was so nice!
It crackled so, it burned so clear,--
Exactly like the picture here.
She jumped for joy and ran about,
And was too pleased to put it out.
  
  
When Minz and Maunz, the cats, saw this,
They said, "Oh, naughty, naughty Miss!"
And rais'd their paws
And stretch'd their claws;
"'Tis very, very wrong, you know;
Me-ow, me-o, me-ow, me-o!
You will be burnt if you do so.
Mamma forbids it, don't you know?"
  
Now see! oh, see! a dreadful thing!
The fire has caught her apron string:
Her apron burns, her arms, her hair;
She burns all over, everywhere.
  
  
Then how the pussy cats did mew,
What else, poor pussies, could they do?
They screamed for help, 'twas all in vain,
So then they said, "We'll scream again.
Make haste, make haste! Me-ow! me-o!
She'll burn to death--we told her so."
  
Pauline was burnt with all her clothes,
And arms and hands, and eyes and nose;
Till she had nothing more to lose
Except her little scarlet shoes;
And nothing else but these was found
Among her ashes on the ground.
And when the good cats sat beside
The smoking ashes, how they cried,
"Me-ow, me-o! Me-ow, me-oo!
What will Mamma and Nursey do?"
Their tears ran down their cheeks so fast
They made a little pond at last.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on May 03, 2023

1:55 min read
545

Quick analysis:

Scheme aabbccddeeffgg hHiiI jjxxkk hHlliiiI mmnn ggxxii xxooppqqigrr
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,919
Words 383
Stanzas 7
Stanza Lengths 14, 5, 6, 8, 4, 6, 12

Heinrich Hoffmann

Heinrich Hoffmann was a German psychiatrist, who also wrote some short works including Der Struwwelpeter, an illustrated book portraying children misbehaving. more…

All Heinrich Hoffmann poems | Heinrich Hoffmann Books

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